Gallery for Innovation and the Arts, R.A. Gray Building,
500 South Bronough St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
The exhibition Power in the Panhandle: Photographing the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Marianna and Panama City, Florida will open to the public Tuesday, April 16, 2019, with a reception from 4 to 6 pm at the Gallery for Innovation and the Arts in the R.A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee. The photographs featured in the exhibition offer unique insight into the immediate aftermath, widespread impact, and recovery efforts of two Florida communities, Marianna and Panama City, that lay in the direct path of Hurricane Michael in October, 2018.
The photographs of the unprecedented destruction were taken by local students enrolled in the Commercial Photography Program at Lively Technical College directed by FSU alumna Becki Rutta (MFA ’08). The exhibition features work by photographers Joi Berry, Robert Boykins, Rosie Crane, Mignon Deshaies, Owen Enzor, Alexa Harkness, Lily Johnson, Evan Kelly, Carter Magar, Mikayla Proctor, and Bri Rodriguez. Their images provide an intimate perspective on the natural disaster’s impact on the region and serve as a study of human resilience. Arranged geographically, the installation is a haunting yet powerful record of the storm and its effect on the community. All photographs in the exhibition are available for purchase; a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the recovery effort.
Power in the Panhandle came about after Art History doctoral candidate Alison Reilly visited Marianna following the hurricane. Sensing the need to bring the storm’s devastation and the community’s plight to the attention of a wider public, Ali sought out Becki Rutta and her exceptional students. Shelly Bell and Randy Free, director and assistant director of Lively Technical College, provided invaluable support for the exhibition. Also contributing to the show were co-curators Annie Booth, MCHS student in Art History; Allie Moersch, BA student in Humanities, Classics, and Religion; and Sarah Shivers, doctoral candidate in Art History. The exhibition became a reality through the determination and generosity of Art History alumna and instructor Dr. Susan Baldino, who connected these FSU students with Rachelle Ashmore, Arts Consultant for the Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State. Ashmore, enthusiastically in favor of the show, arranged for the Gallery for Innovation and the Arts to display the photographs and share them with the local community.
Featured photo: Alexa Harkness, Throwing Caution to the Wind. Taken in Panama City, Florida, October 2018